The U.S. economy is in a slowdown but not headed into a recession, President Bush said Thursday after new data showed slow fourth-quarter growth and a bigger-than-expected jump in unemployment claims.
Bush, speaking at a White House news conference, also said he didn't think another economic stimulus package was necessary at the moment, adding "why don't we let stimulus package one have a chance to kick in."
"There is no question the economy has slowed down," Bush said. "I don't think we're headed into a recession, but there is no question we are in a slowdown."
"And that's why we acted, and acted strongly, with over $150 billion worth of pro-growth economic incentives, mainly money going into the hands of our consumers."
New economic data Thursday showed the slender pace of U.S. growth was unrevised in the fourth quarter and new jobless claims jumped sharply last week, reinforcing a fragile outlook that some fear spells recession.
Gross domestic product, which measures total goods and service output within U.S. borders, rose at an annual rate of 0.6 percent.
It was slowed by a collapse in spending on new homes and a slump in inventories, and was slightly weaker than the 0.7 percent pace forecast by analysts polled by Reuters.
A separate release from the Labor Department showed that the number of U.S. workers applying for first-time unemployment benefits rose a much bigger than expected 19,000 last week.